Solomons Christmas Walk Scheduled

The 14th annual Solomons Christmas Walk is scheduled Dec. 10-12 at Solomons Island.

Visitors will be able to stroll candlelit streets from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Entertainment throughout the weekend will include carolers and other music. A tree-lighting ceremony will open the event on Friday evening, with Santa arriving by firetruck at 6 p.m. The Blue Sky Puppet Theatre will present a children's Christmas Puppet Show at the Calvert Marine Museum at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The Boat Parade of Lights will highlight Saturday's events. The boats will parade from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday. They can be viewed from the riverwalk or from restaurants along the waterfront.

Saturday's activities will start at 8 a.m. with a Jingle Bells Run and Walk, a benefit for arthritis research. Children can have breakfast with Santa at 9 a.m. at the Avondale Center. Both events require preregistration and a sign-up fee. Various musical performances will begin at noon and run until the boat parade.

On Sunday afternoon Arias Etc. and the Calvert Chamber Players will present a choral program from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church.

More information on events and the schedule is available by calling the Solomons Business Association at 1-800-953-3300 or 410-326-3366. Information also is available from the Calvert Marine Museum at 410-326-2042.

DNR Selling Black Bear Stamps

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is selling the 1999 Black Bear Conservation Stamp for holiday gift giving.

The $5 stamp, authorized by the Maryland General Assembly, generates funds that are used to compensate farmers who report damage to crops caused by black bears. DNR has paid more than $32,000 in crop damage claims since the program began in 1996.

Maryland's 1999 Black Bear Conservation Stamp features a mother bear and two cubs, illustrated by wildlife artist Will Goebel. Black bears have made a comeback in the state, with Western Maryland reporting a population of more than 300 bears, according to the DNR.

To purchase stamps, call 1-800-873-3763, visit a local DNR center or www.dnr.state.md.us/giftshop/bearstamp.html on the DNR Web site.

Anyone purchasing a bear stamp through Feb. 15 will be entered in a contest to win a trip accompanying DNR wildlife biologists on a sprint bear-tagging excursion in Garrett County. The winner and a guest will receive a complimentary one-night stay in a cabin at New Germany State Park and go along the following day to count new cubs. To enter without purchasing a stamp, send a letter with name, address and telephone number to DNR Wildlife & Heritage Division, Black Bear Conservation Promotion, 589 Taylor Ave., E-1, Annapolis, Md. 21401.

Mental Health Breakfast Seminars

Good Shepherd Community Services in Waldorf begins a series of breakfast seminars for mental health professionals tomorrow with a program on why people try to alter their physical appearance.

Donald Taylor will lead the seminar titled "Cutting, Contortion and Culture: Understanding Self-Inflicted Body Modification." Taylor is the staff psychiatrist at Good Shepherd and is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at George Washington University School of Medicine.

Other scheduled seminars in the series are:

* Dec. 13, "Spirituality in the Life of a Professional."

* Jan. 24, "Working with Drug-Affected Families."

* Feb. 28, "Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementia in the Elderly."

* March 27, "Overview of Development and Fund-Raising."

* April 17, "The Long Walk Home: Working with Women in Prostitution and Trafficking."

There is no charge for the seminars, which are co-sponsored by Good Shepherd and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. The programs will be held in the conference room at Health Partners, 3070 Crain Hwy. in Waldorf. To register for future programs, call Marci Kennai at 410-247-2770, Ext. 233, or Sister Mary Frances Altavilla, Charles County program manager, at 301-645-8840.

Good Shepherd Community Services offers a variety of mental health services to adolescent girls, women and families. It is an outreach initiative of Good Shepherd Center in Baltimore, the state's largest residential treatment facility for adolescent girls.

Committee on Gambling Has Vacancy

The Calvert County Gambling Permit Review Committee currently has a vacancy for a clergy member.

The Board of Commissioners is seeking applicants to fill the position. The deadline for applying is Dec. 10.

The committee is a volunteer advisory board that reviews all applications by charitable and nonprofit organizations for gambling permits. The committee makes recommendations to the county commissioners on whether to grant the permits, which most often are sought in connection with fund-raising events that include casino-type games of chance.

The committee also reviews and updates regulations governing charitable gaming. The state law establishing the panel requires one member to be from the local clergy. In addition, to be eligible, applicants must be Calvert County residents and registered to vote.

Application forms are available from the commissioners office at the courthouse in Prince Frederick or at any public library branch. They should be submitted to the Board of County Commissioners, Attention: Connie Clark, Courthouse, 175 Main St., Prince Frederick, Md. 20678. Completed applications also may be faxed to Clark at 410-535-5594.

SMILE Thrift Shop Opens

The Thrift Shop of SMILE Ecumenical Services Inc. is now open at a new location on Route 765 in Lusby.

Clothing for men, women and children, as well as designer fashions, household items and collectibles, are sold to the public at affordable prices. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

When traveling north on Route 765, turn right into the first driveway after Calvert Cliffs State Park. More information is available at 410-326-0009.

Deer Season Opens Saturday

Maryland's annual firearms deer hunting season opens Saturday. The state Department of Natural Resources said an estimated 78,000 hunters will take to the fields and woods this year.

New bag limits this year are structured to encourage the harvest of antlerless deer in portions of the state with elevated deer populations. Last year, firearms hunters bagged 41,073 deer during the season. The state is divided into four management regions, each with its own bag limit for deer hunters.

The DNR statement reminded hunters of several safety precautions:

* Always wear a safety belt or harness when using a tree stand.

* Inspect and repair tree stands before hunting.

* Use a hoist rope to get an unloaded gun up or down trees.

* Know the terrain beyond the target.

Lions Club to Collect for Vision Programs

The Lexington Park Lions Club will be collecting donations during White Cane Days Friday and Saturday to support its vision programs for those in need.

Members will be at the Wal-Mart and Kmart stores in California and at the Ames store at St. Mary's Square in Lexington Park.

VFW Post to Assist Veterans, Homeless

Members of the Calvert County Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8133 and its Ladies Auxiliary are observing National Family Week beginning today.

Plans include the presentation of homemade items to veterans living at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, as well as donations to a homeless shelter in Calvert County.

The group meets at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month in the Prince Frederick Library. For more information, call 410-535-3220.

Jaycees Collecting Toys in Waldorf

The Greater Waldorf Jaycees are in the midst of their annual Toys for Tots drive, which continues through Dec. 20.

Collection boxes are located at businesses around Charles County and in the lobby of the Jaycee Community Center in Waldorf.

Any individual or business wishing to donate toys or money may call Joan Watkins at 301-645-4546.

Navy Donates Equipment to College

The Indian Head Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center has donated nearly 100 pieces of equipment to the new manufacturing technology program at Charles County Community College.

The items include band saws, lathes, drill presses and grinders that will be used to help train students in the use of current, production-type manufacturing equipment, the school said in a statement.

The program, which began this month, includes courses in manufacturing processes, assembly practices and machine operations. It was developed after requests from local employers who found that employees entering the work force needed more training to bridge the gap between mechanical and technical skills, the school said.

Northern High to Host Holiday Fair

Northern High School will hold a holiday craft fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 4 in the gymnasium.

The school is on Chaneyville Road in Owings. Handmade holiday decorations and baked goods will be sold, according to a statement from organizers. All proceeds from the fair will benefit Northern's chorus department.

Call 410-257-3733 for more information.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection

Charles County's last hazardous household waste collection day of the year is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 4 at the landfill on Billingsley Road.

Items accepted with no charge include pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer, gasoline and oil, antifreeze, cleaning compounds, pool chemicals and batteries. People bringing such materials for disposal should keep them in their original containers whenever possible. Placing those containers in cardboard boxes will make unloading easier.

Hazardous household waste collection will resume next year on the first Saturday of each month beginning in April and running through December.

For more information, call the Department of Public Facilities at 301-932-3599 or 301-870-2778, or the landfill information line at 301-932-5656.

Exercise for People With Arthritis

An exercise program designed for people with arthritis will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Dec. 2, the St. Mary's County Office on Aging announced.

The PACE program (People with Arthritis Can Exercise) will meet from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Garvey Senior Center in Leonardtown. It is sponsored by the Aging office and the Maryland chapter of the Arthritis Foundation.

Preregistration is recommended; call the Office on Aging at 301-475-4444.